Last night, Twitter started globally rolling out Fleets and teased its upcoming feature, Audio Spaces. Alongside the announcement, Twitter’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour hinted that the company is ‘exploring’ the possibility of adding a dislike button.
Beykpour revealed the company’s plans in response to cybersecurity expert Jackie Singh’s tweet urging Twitter to ‘focus on real problems’ such as coordinated inauthentic behavior, disinformation, and harassment in the platform.
#1, 2 and 4 are literally our top priority (making the public conversation on Twitter) and has been for years. We’ve made a lot of progress but still lots to do. We do feel it’s important to solve other problems too! As for #3, this is something we’re exploring.
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) November 17, 2020
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Twitter is going to immediately add a downvote button. In a follow-up tweet, Beykpour mentions that the downvote button specifically is not the only solution and the company is exploring other incentives/disincentives as well.
Adding downvotes or dislikes on Twitter comes with its own set of disadvantages. When a Twitter user argued that downvotes could get abused in the platform, Beykpour said, “that’s true about pretty much *any* mechanic at scale (including Likes / Retweets / Tweets!). The difficult but important part is finding a balance of incentives that rewards positive behavior & disincentivizes toxic behavior. I think we can do better than what we have today.”
At its current state, the easiest way to stop seeing something you don’t prefer on Twitter is to report it as ‘I’m not interested in this Tweet’. While it is not as effective as entirely unfollowing or blocking the person, Twitter will not show similar content frequently in your feed.
So yeah, it will be interesting to see how Twitter plans to implement downvotes/dislikes without incentivizing potential abuse of the feature. For now, there’s no clear timeline as to when you should expect the feature and that’s something we will have to wait and find out.